Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Child's Perspective




Recently, my husband and I took our two young grandsons for a day outing.  As we were returning home, Ricky mentioned that he planned to drop us off at the house and go up to his office at the church for a while.  Our four-year old grandson, Gideon, overheard the conversation and I thought he was going to beg to go to Preacher Man’s office too.  Instead following conversation occurred:

Gideon:  “Preacher Man, what are you going to do at your office?”

Preacher Man:  “Well, I need to do a little work like study my sermon for Sunday.”

Gideon:  “That’s not what you do in your office, silly Preacher Man?”

Me:  “Gid, what do you think Preacher Man does in his office?”

Gideon (exasperated):  “Vivi, you know Preacher Man just plays in his office!”

Me (after Ricky and I quite choking on laughter):  “What does he play with?”

Gideon: “Well, he takes the teddy bears (small souvenirs from England) off his shelf and plays with them.  Then, he takes the golf ball (yes, a golf ball painted with the world on it) and rolls it on the floor.  Then, he takes a nap on his couch.” 

By the time Gideon finished the description of my husband’s office playtime, Ricky and I were laughing so hard tears were rolling down our faces.

Isn’t interesting that a four-year old has this impression?  Hmm, this simple thinking of a child makes me truly wonder what adults believe ministers do on a daily basis.  Here is what I have discovered:

*Many people believe the staff only works at best on Sunday and Wednesday.  They rest of the week the sit around, drinking coffee and relaxing.  Isn’t that sad?

*People fail to see that ministers spend hours praying for direction.  They seek God for wisdom in the message they are to proclaim.

*They fail to realize that ministers spend hours on during the week “putting out fires” that are brewing.  You know these “fires.”  Someone send a nasty note that the music was too loud or the sanctuary was too cold.  Bro. So and So didn’t speak to me on Sunday and should be fired.  These little petty issues can disrupt unity and the work of the Lord if not quieted.

*People do not realize that ministers take time away from preparing for Sunday to visit the hospital, check-in on homebound and visit nursing homes.  They do it not out of obligation but out of compassion for the sick and lonely.

*Let’s not forget the hundreds of hours they spend listening/counseling those who are depressed, suicidal, brokenhearted, in martial conflict, experiencing financial ruin, etc.  they receive phone calls in the middle of the night, during family dinner time, and while on vacation. 

*People (even family members) are always surprised when we share that we never take all our vacation time because there are not enough days to schedule it.  Also, they are surprised that there have been times we have been called back from vacation and lost our money on our vacation for a funeral or some other crisis.  They have told us that they just would not do it.  No, you might not because you are not called out to be a minister and to “shepherd” a flock.

I believe as minister families we should help our congregations that sometimes ministry is not fun and games.  A minister and his wife (and children) work hard to fulfill the roll to which God has called them.  Following the Lord’s example, they sacrifice much in order to win people to salvation.  But even the Lord rested and I believe “played.”

So, feel free to give my husband and I a call anytime and let’s have a play date.  We have the golf balls and teddy bears in the office ready to go.  Afterwards, we can turn off the lights and curl up on the couch or in the comfy chairs for a nap. 




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Have You Ever . . .?


A couple of ministers’ wives friends and I were talking the other day and began reflecting on the things we have had to do for the sake of ministry.  The conversation soon became a series of “have you ever” questions that left us laughing. I just thought I would share a few of my “Have you ever” moments and hopefully you will relate or even share you moments with us.

*Have you ever . . . taken your preschoolers on a home visit with you because you could not afford a babysitter?  Yes!  My poor boys were introduced to church visitation at an early age.  Our first church was too small to provide a nursery and most of our members were senior adults.  These home visits were always around bedtime for my sons so the emotional wheels would fall off after about the second visit.  However, the sweet people we visited were so kind to overlook the tearful, tired meltdowns of our boys and offer them a cookie. 

*Have you ever . . . shown up at church with your child in just a diaper and dressed them at church?  Yes!  Our first church was across the field from the parsonage.  I cannot tell you how many Sunday mornings I would rise early to get myself and the boys ready for church.  However, my youngest (who at the time was 18 months old) HATED clothes and shoes.  After I gathered my Bible from the bedroom, I would return to the living room to find my child COMPLETELY undressed and smiling.  It just became easier for me to carry him to the church in a diaper and dress him in the nursery.  However, our church members did not mind because they saw us trying to teach the importance of church to our little ones.

*Have you ever . . . taken your young children on a youth trip?  Yes!  At our first church, my husband was the only staff.  That meant we cleaned the church, did the lawn care, and I was the youth minister.  If our parents were unavailable to come babysit, our sons went with us.  My young babies attended youth conferences, went ice skating/roller skating, and attended church camp.  I would be the youth leader walking with a group of teens pushing a stroller and carrying an infant.  However, our teens did not mind because many of those youth would help juggle our boys.  In turn, my sons LOVED all the attention showered on them. 

These are just a few of my “Have you ever” memories regarding my children.  I have other “Have you ever” thoughts about other church related situations.  However, I am going to leave it here.  I want you to take a moment and share some of your memories.  We all need a laugh.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Just Be You

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14

My sisters, every now and then we, as pastors’ and ministers’ wives, need a reminder or maybe a little bit of encouragement to assure us that we are who we are and there is NO possible way we can please everybody in our churches. Ladies, we are in awesome company, because even our Lord and Savior, who was and is perfect in every way, didn’t please the masses. In fact, the religious leaders in His day were constantly finding fault with just about all that He said or did, and He is King of kings and Lord of lords! So, don’t let us think that we will escape the fault-finders and the criticism that come as a part of what it means to be a wife in ministry.

In my blog this month, I just want to give a few edifying encouragements, because at times people can be really insensitive or down right mean. This is nothing new, just a dose of comfort if you are feeling discouraged.

Remember:

When people don’t like you, remember you can love them. Sometimes you’ve done all you know to do to be kind and compassionate, and to show the love of Christ to all, yet hearts are cold. Pray and love on them anyway; it’s the Lord’s job to change hearts. Only He can do the impossible. “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

When people try to pressure you into doing something you are not called to do, remember the gifts that the Lord has given you to serve Him. Sometimes we have to say, “No”; that’s not always easy in the church, but it is necessary when we want to truly be in God’s will. A “good cause” may not be your “cause”. Church members sometimes expect the pastor's wife to do everything in the church—play the piano, sing in the choir, serve in the nursery, teach Sunday School, and so on. Whoa! That’s not possible! It’s unfair to put those expectations on anyone! “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.” “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” 1 Corinthians 12: 4,11

When people say critical things about you, your husband, and your kids, remember that no family on the face of the planet is perfect, and the same people who lash out with hurtful comments have issues and dysfunctions in their own families. We all have trials and sufferings that we go through in life---pastors’ families are not exempt! Our Father is still doing a sanctifying work in all of us, and one day we all will be conformed into the image of His Son. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

When you feel lonely and don’t think anyone understands your unique role in the church, remember God called you to be your husband’s support, to love him and pray for him. A pastor’s wife sees and hears things and experiences situations that no other person does. Use your calling in His kingdom to influence others for good. “Only, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each, in this manner let him walk. And so I direct in all the churches.” 1 Corinthians 7:17

One day we will be perfect, we will have our new glorious bodies, not subject to growing old, sickness, or decay (aren’t we all looking forward to that!). Yet until then, let us allow God to work on us with our imperfections, flaws, and blemishes. Remember you are fearfully and wonderfully made! One day we will be like Christ; for now let us be patient with ourselves, and with our critics until that day arrives

So, my precious sisters, just be you!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Life is Unpredictable!

Life is Unpredictable!

Everyday..... you hear of wrecks, storms, violence and sickness taking the lives of the elderly all the way down to the young.

Everyday....you hear of another female with breast cancer, or another person with some type of cancer.

Everyday.....you hear of another home that has been broken up.

Life is Unpredictable!

Roger was told at his secular job a year and half ago that they were going to out-source the IT Department to a company in India.  Since....they keep getting mixed info.  They've been told that it will not affect any of his group............they've been told that it will affect the entire group and they've been told that it will affect some of the group..............but it will happen over the next few years.

Roger will be 62 in March.....so he felt comfortable.  At 62 he could take an early retirement....from his secular job and be able to spend more time working at church. 

He's made it this far...........and the company never does anything major except the first of the year or the first of the summer.............those are the "change times"....normally.

Monday, in a meeting, he was told that they are doing away with his position....it is being out-sourced to India and his last day will be November 10......4 1/2 months too early to retire early.  Whewww.......

They had warned them.........................but when they actually told him......it caught him off guard and even hurt his feelings.....................he's put in 20+ years with the company and worked many, many hours on salary with no over-time.

It is what it is.

Then....yesterday was our anniversary.  Since today was my first day back to school with students all day.............we decided to celebrate our anniversary on Friday night............so we could enjoy it and not be stressed. 

Roger had already taken the day off work so when I came home today.................I walked into this..............

 
 
If you look carefully you will see where my stove and sink was this morning when I left for work.
 
(We are right in the middle of completely remodeling our kitchen.....new appliances....new cabinets......walls knocked down...etc.)
 
Life is Unpredictable!
 
I guess I say all of this to say........................life rarely runs smooth without any bumps in the road.
 
We must keep our eyes on God and know that He is Still in Control....................regardless of what "hand of cards" have been dealt to you.
 
.........sickness.....loss of jobs......death.......messy houses......------just remember.....no matter what you face............the world is watching you to see how YOU handle it....be it little or small.
 
Let's let others see Jesus through you!
 
 


Thursday, August 3, 2017

"Mystery Trip"

Roger and I had plans to go to Pigeon Forge one weekend this summer......we had some "gifts" we needed to purchase.  Before that weekend, our daughter asked if we would be available to babysit her two children.

We asked if we could take the grandkids with us to Pigeon Forge.  They agreed, but we did not tell the kids where they were going.  They thought it was sooo neat because we were going on a "mystery trip".  Actually they had not been to Pigeon Forge since they were one and two years old, so they did not remember it.  And....this was our first trip away with just the grandkids.

We only stayed two nights, but in those three days and two nights, we got to re-experience Pigeon Forge from a child's eyes. 

Our grandkids are three and four years old.  It was the little things.......

Our hotel room had a hot tub.  They wanted to wear their swimsuits and play in the BIG BATH TUB and watch TV at the same time.  They were in heaven.  They thought that was soooo cool.

From our balcony, we could see the giant cross.  Our grandson got so excited............he wanted to know if that was the cross that Jesus died on.

They with granddaddy road the Big Farris Wheel.  Mimi does not like heights and has vertigo bad, so she stayed on the ground.

We did many things...........fed the bears, went to the Comedy Barn, ate at the Apple Barn and of course made a stop at the Disney Store....cause that is what grandparents do.

They wore us out.

But it was worth every bit of it.

Sometimes in our busy, hectic worlds..................it is fun to just slow down and enjoy a "Mystery Trip" moment........................especially through a child's eyes.


  
 

38 plus years......


HAPPY ANNIVERARY, ROGER!

Exactly 38 years ago tonight, Roger and I got married.....after dating for 7 years, 1 day and 1 month.  (August 3, 1979)  On July 2, 1972......we had our first date.  We were babies.  Smile.

I feel blessed to have married my sweetheart and best friend and to still be married.......but it did not happen without lots of effort from both of us.  Marriage is an every day job.....especially if you are a Christian and "Preaching Couple" because Satan is trying to find every little crack he can to destroy your relationship.  If he can cause your marriage to fail...............look at the vast number it will impact.

There is no doubt in my mind that God chose Roger for me.  Sometimes I do think that God has a sense of humor because he could not have put two more opposite people together.

But....guess what......................after 45 years of being a couple and 38 years of being "one".......we are not so much different.  We have both mellowed out and become more alike.

I use to trust EVERYONE.....and believed everything that was said to me.  Roger trusted no one and was very guarded.  Over the years.....I have realized that I need to be careful because everyone is not as truthful or honest and I had once thought.  And, Roger has learned to trust people more which has caused him to be much more compassionate that he was in his early ministry.

Ladies......love your husband and guard your relationship.  What you have is a very precious gift from God.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Continued Prayers in Singapore


This is my niece Danae and her husband, Nick Ireland....and their two sons, Bennett and Jackson.  (You can't tell by the picture, but their baby sister, Emma Kate is due in November.)

They just completed their first year of mission work in Singapore.  They work with Young Life.

In June and July, they got to come back to the states and we were able to visit with them some.

Please keep them in your prayers.  They leave today to travel back to Singapore.

(In following God's lead, they sold their beautiful home in Franklin, Tn and most of their possessions....to move to Singapore to work with the youth.  Not only are they away from family..........they are away from friends.)

Just write their names down and keep them in your prayers....Nick & Danae Ireland.

Thank you in advance for your prayers.